Behind punishing junior running back Ian Hicks, Dobyns-Bennett snapped the state’s second longest winning streak with a 42-34 victory over Farragut.
The third-ranked Admirals had rolled off 19 straight wins and won the Class 5A championship last season, a game in which they overcame a 35-7 deficit to beat Independence.
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The Indians jumped out to a 21-0 lead and needed some key second-half defensive stops to secure the victory.
“What a great team win,” said D-B coach Graham Clark. “I was at the game against Independence last year when they got it going in the second half. I was never comfortable until the final horn tonight.”
Hicks finished with 284 yards on 29 carries and four touchdowns.
“I don’t even know what to say. Praise God,” Hicks said. “This is a great team win.”
Hicks got great blocking throughout the night but also took a toll on the Admirals with his bruising style.
“The offensive line blocked their butts off for me tonight,” he said. “I love each and every one of them. Once you get through their hole, you just have to be physical with the next guys, make them fear you.”
Hicks was the workhorse as D-B built a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter, which included his 3-yard touchdown run. He ran for a 30-yard TD on the Indians’ fourth possession that expanded the lead to 21-0 with 7:53 to go in the first half.
After a Farragut score, Hicks scored on a 29-yard jaunt to push D-B to a 28-7 advantage, and he finished the first half having carried the ball 13 times for 199 yards and three scores.
Offensive line coach Joey Christian said the work of his five guys across the front — left tackle Dawson Pierson, left guard Braydn Buckles, center Nick Starke, right guard Cade Salyers and right tackle Drew Christian — has been stout for the better part of two years.
“We’ve had better individual players in my time here, but as a unit, they are as good as they come,” Christian said. “Nobody has put in more hard work than those guys, and they deserve every bit of this success.”
After Farragut closed the gap to 28-14 at halftime, D-B’s defense got a quick stop and the great field position resulted in a score. Nathan Harding had a big 36-yard third-down reception and fullback Isaiah Jayne tumbled in from a yard out for a 35-14 lead.
Farragut then turned to the passing game and its bevy of three future Division I receivers to get back in it.
Gavin Wilkinson hit Braden Collins for 36 yards and Jacob Warren for 19, leading to a 1-yard dive by Isaiah Gibbs. Wilkinson then found Collins for a 32-yard strike to pull the Admirals to within eight, 35-27.
Early in the fourth quarter and facing third-and-17 from their 18, the Indians turned in perhaps the biggest play of the game when Lendon Redwine found Dee Williams for a 19-yard pickup and a first down.
Redwine hit Matt Diminick for 20 more yards and the Tribe marched off on a 10-play, 72-yard drive that ate up nearly six minutes. Hicks’ fourth TD run capped the drive.
Diminick finished with four receptions for 81 yards and Williams six catches for 53 yards.
“We executed our offense,” said Redwine, who finished 12-of-16 passing for 183 yards. “We did all we could and Ian ran the ball great and the line blocked great for him.”
Collins totaled seven receptions for 195 yards and touchdowns of 33, 32 and 55 yards. Wilkinson was 21-of-32 passing for 335 yards.
“Ian ran like crazy, the offensive line blocked like crazy, big catches by Dee and Dimmy and Harding at critical times and the defense made some plays,” Clark added. “An 80-man win, period.”